What can one say about such a popular and honest motorcycle racer? 
The following are some quotes and tales from Tom himself. 
Interesting, funny and at times moving, they provide a fascinating insight into the thoughts, feelings and personality of a man who, despite entering into the superstar bracket, never lost sight of his character.
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'I've never had the chance to ride for a works team and road racing is one of the most expensive sports in the world. But I am still doing what I want most.' - 1978

'Although I travel at high speeds, probably 180-190mph, I don't think of it. I only have time to think of what I am doing.' - 1978 

'The Irish fans are a terrific bunch.' - Tom's appreciation of his home supporters - 1977 

'My ambition in sport is to win a world championship.' - Speaking in late 1978

'I went into a different key as my ears popped on the way up the mountain.' - On singing 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' during a lap of the TT circuit - 1975

'Even if there are hints of a works ride I'm not going to sit on my a*se and then get caught out if they fail to materialise. I must think privateer and organise accordingly.' - Tom speaking in 1978 as he looked ahead to the following season 

'The Irish know how to celebrate, of course, but if anyone thought that the Herron brigade was going at it a bit strong in the Isle of Man after I'd won the Senior TT, let me point out it wasn't just that victory I was happy about, it was the 'double!' - Tom speaking about his 1976 Senior TT win which coincided with the news that Andrea was pregnant
'
The racing is dangerous. But let's not down hearten the organisers too much. I want to see the racing continue. Let's do whatever we can to make it safer.' - Tom's views on safety in 1977 

'It's a good job they don't make contraceptives.' - Tom's famous quip after his rear tyre had shredded at the 1978 North-West 200, robbing him of a certain win in one of the superbike races 

'What a fabulous TT week it was.' - Tom looks back on the 1976 Isle of Man TT

'It's something to tell the grandchildren when I retire.' - On finishing ahead of Agostini at the 350cc Austrian GP in 1976 
 
'Around the circuit I had the best signalling team at the races, with Rex Evans at Laurel Bank, Jim Rodgers at the Gooseneck and Harold Green at Windy Corner, whilst Andrea had to sweat the races out with blackboard and chalk at Ballaugh.' -  Tom pays tribute to his signalling team at the 1976 Isle of Man TT
'I'd like to put something back into the sport when I retire, maybe by way of sponsorship. I like to think I will earn my living from motorcycles when I stop racing them.' - On his plans after retirement from racing - 1975

'I think the dopey bugger has woke up.' - Visiting Jon Ekerold in hospital following his crash in the 'Trophee du Million' at Magny Cours in March 1975 

'No, I couldn't be bothered with that. If you're not having good fun dicing with people, there's no point in going racing.' - Tom makes his views clear on the 750cc World Championship in 1978

'The trouble free bikes are to the credit of my regular mechanic Peter Kelly and our temporary assistant for the TT period Hardy Clydesdale.' - Tom pays tribute to his mechanics at the 1976 Isle of Man TT 

'My memory is a little bit vague about the rest of the night, but everyone assures me that halfway down the autobahn on our way back to the paddock, the call of nature came to me so strongly that I was halfway out the door before anyone could move - and the van was still doing 50mph. Bob White, John Williams' mechanic, managed to grab me round the throat and Peter (Kelly) screeched to a standstill milli-seconds before I broke free of this all-in wrestler and completed the little task I had set my mind on.' - Salzburg 1976

'Racing is in my blood. I like the sport, I like the life and I like the people.' - Looking ahead to another season on the road in 1976 

'The best story of TT week came in the closing stages of the 250cc race when a man rather dangerously ran across the road at Windy Corner and said to Harold in a strong Dublin accent that he was going to bless the signalling board. He did so and then scampered back across to his vantage spot!' - Tom speaking after the 1976 Lightweight TT win

'I shall be working with different people and in the main, racing against different people.' - Looking ahead to the 1979 500cc World Championship with the Suzuki works team

'I don't get bogged down with the thought of winning. I don't want to be confident about the TT. It's a dangerous place. If I'm riding well I'll just ride fast and safely. If I'm riding badly then I'll ride slow and safely.' - Tom gives his level opinion on how he approaches the TT course - 1977 

'Then it sunk home. I didn't cry, I just couldn't stop the water coming to my eyes!' -  On being told he had won the 1976 Senior TT 
'During the year, Jon (Ekerold) and I have got into the same sort of private riders rut and now he has landed himself some support from Morbidelli. I keep on hoping something similar will happen to me in the not-too-distant future.' - Tom speaking in 1978

'When I went to pay our bill, the woman who owned the bar insisted on me drinking a couple of large glasses of wine for friendship's sake. Normally I might have turned the offer down, but she was a big woman and looked quite capable of insisting that I drink with her.' -  Austria 1976 

'There are many, many riders who wouldn't have gone within ten miles of the Villa Marina after the disappointments of that day. To both of them, and John in particular, I'd like to say thanks.' -  Tom praises the sportsmanship of John Williams and Charlie Williams who attended the Senior TT prize giving despite their own race disappointments. Isle of Man 1976 

'But sitting around on your backside waiting for things to happen isn't for me, or Andrea.' - On the continuous search for sponsorship on the eve of the 1976 season 

'When you get Rhencullen perfect and get a nice wheelie on the way out of it, boy oh boy that makes your day.' - Tom describes his favourite section of the TT course 

'Did I tell you I've been to prison this year! It happened in Venezuela and the little barman, a bit slow to bring our next round of drinks, tested the temperature of the swimming pool at our hotel, while still fully clothed. He wasn't amused and Penti Korhonen, another easy-going character from Finland, myself and Philippe Coulon's mechanic Bob Cox were whisked off to the cells. I'll quickly point out we're no criminals and the episode where a telephone fell out of my hotel room was a pure accident!' - A brush with the law in Venezuela in 1977 

'The whole mountain circuit is brilliant. Come in after doing a couple of laps and you feel on top of the world.' - On his love affair with the TT 

'The only thing is that the 500cc race is nearly always the last solo race of the day so I'll be able to have a lie-in.' - Tom in 1979 

'I'm sorry Jon, that's not how I wanted to get second in the championship.' - Offering his commiserations to his great friend Jon Ekerold, whose retirement in the 1977 British GP secured runner-up spot in the 350cc World Championship for Tom, who himself had retired early in the race due to the pain from an injured hand sustained in a practice crash

'They pop once going up and twice coming down - at the Creg and Signpost. You swallow into Signpost.' - On how one's ears can be affected on the mountain section of the TT course - 1975

'What will the year bring? Who knows? For sure it's going to be even more exciting than last year, and that was exciting enough.' - On the eve of the 1976 season

'He beat the Europeans at their own game against all the odds. Anyway once seen in top form you wonder why anyone else even bothers to race.' - Tom on his great friend and rival Kenny Roberts' 1978 season

'I just want to get on with the job.' - Tom on his new role in the Texaco Heron Team Suzuki set-up in 1979 

'At the prize-giving Charlie Williams and I found a tray of glasses of schnapps apparently free of charge. But a rather stern Swedish lady pointed out that she wanted the equivalent two pounds for each drink. Hurriedly, using water from a flower vase, we filled up the glasses and put them back on the tray. You could say it was our bit towards road safety!' - Sweden 1976 

'It's the side of racing that the fans never really see. They watch a race, cheer their heroes and go home. Well, there are men happy with the day and others choked off with it all. Try and spare a thought for the guy beaten or out of form please, it might be me!' - On the often unseen side of racing 

'One thing you could never accuse the Irish of is being unpunctual, could you now? If we say we'll be there, we will, to the nearest week! But unpunctual mechanics are another matter. Little Vince French was late for duty, so we just had to throw him, fully clothed, into the lake at Imatra, to prove a point. He'll be wanting wages next if we let him get away with things like that.' - Imatra, Finland 1976 

'It was cold, wet and the sand in the paddock looked like Skegness on a bad day.' - Tom describes the opening European race of 1977 at Tilburg 

'The only person I have seen go through there properly is Mike Hailwood in 1978. He must have been on the right line. I learnt it that night and forgot it again the next day. At least I know where it is - if I can find it again.' - Tom explains his problem with the triple left hander approaching Guthries on the TT course

'Memories of brilliant riders, super races and the mind blowing fact that Walter Villa never has a day off-form! Or of Jon Ekerold after the Spanish GP telling us he was a failure. What rubbish! It takes guts just to uproot your home and set sail across the world. He's ridden some fine races when he was here.' - Tom reflects at the end of the 1976 season 

'At least we are trying to achieve something and not just sitting around on our backsides. If we can just get the things to go it would be an achievement.' - Tom on the eve of his 1978 campaign for which he and mechanic Peter Kelly decided to build two Yamahas from scratch 

'Now that is something out of this world on a 750 Yamaha. You have to consciously brace yourself, a*se in the seat, elbows against the tank and your knees - and hang on like blue hell!!' - Tom describes Sulby Straight on the TT course 

'This is the first time in five seasons of Grand Prix racing that I have gone down in the results and I am riding harder than ever. Proves it's tough being a privateer.' - Tom reflects on his 1978 season

'To be honest I was over the moon when I finished third in the Junior TT in the Isle of Man. The Yam did nothing else but seize. It got as far as Greeba when I took it out for the first and got all the way to the 11th Milestone after I re-built it and had another try.' - Tom explains his constant struggle with bike set-up in 1978

'I suddenly found that I was in a swamp with reeds about the place. I seemed to remember someone saying turn left when you get to the reeds so I thought I did just that, but I ended up in some filthy, smelly water almost completely submerged. I somehow managed to crawl out and get back to where we were staying and you can imagine the looks I got as I stood there dripping muddy, smelly water on the mat. Anyhow the reason for my dip was that I had turned right instead of left, must have been the schnapps or something.' - Tom describes his excursion into an Austrian swamp as he walked back from a barbecue in Salzburg on a wet April night in 1978 

'Anybody with any style and quality in their riding has come up the same way as I have. It's the constant struggle to improve from year to year that teaches a rider commitment and determination. It gives a rider that extra edge, that killer instinct.' - Tom speaking towards the end of 1978 

'I know a lot of people wonder why I take in so many non-internationals when I also need more time for bike preparation. The fact is you need these meetings to earn some money. Then there are the Irish events that set me back some 300-400 pounds every time I go over there. The simple reason is I like to get home and I like to see my family.' - On the life and expense of a globe trotting Grand Prix star - 1978 

'It's a good job we did not have a bigger injury to deal with, otherwise it would have meant eating more lollies.' - Tom at his humorous best in the aftermath of his 1977 Spanish GP crash in which he created a splint for his damaged thumb using a piece of old plywood, two ice lolly sticks and some waterproof tape! 
Photo Courtesy: Herron Family Archive
By Kind Permission


'The original offer was two chickens, I turned that down flat. He soon began to up his bid and finally the deal was worth two farms, 14 cows and a dozen chickens. I hesitated a bit at that and I think if he had thrown in a couple of 500cc Suzukis we might have been able to do business. Just don't tell Andrea'Tom's typically tongue-in-cheek version of events when a rather ancient Austrian farmer took a strong liking to Andrea and wanted to buy her. - Austria 1976.            
Photo Courtesy: Herron Family Archive
By Kind Permission
'The twins arrived in November and beautiful they are too. I suppose having Kim and Zoe to think about has given me an added sense of responsibility, and whether that will make me a better rider only time will tell.' - Tom on the eve of the 1977 season.            
Photo Courtesy: Herron Family Archive
By Kind Permission

'I won a trophy, a beautiful thing from Castrol, for being such a wonderful fellow or something like that.' - 1976
Photo Courtesy: Herron Family Archive
By Kind Permission

Main Photo
Tom tells it how it is.
Photo: Herron Family Archive
By Kind Permission